It’s not all about pearly whites, straight teeth, and winsome smiles in the orthodontic world, although those are added results from completing an orthodontic procedure. There are a host of common orthodontic problems resulting from misalignments between the top and bottom jaw (called malocclusions).
If these malocclusions are ignored or not properly diagnosed in time, they can lead to a number of health issues. Difficulty breathing, speech impairment, uneven or abnormal wearing of teeth and enamel, jaw joint disorders, loss of bone surrounding the teeth, TMJ headaches and periodontitis (inflammation of the tissues that support the teeth) are all potential effects.
Here is look at some of the more common orthodontic problems.
When the upper front teeth extend out over the lower front teeth, sometimes the lower front teeth bite close to or into the upper teeth gum line or the palate (roof of the mouth). It can lead to bone damage, discomfort and excessive incisor wear.
Underbite (or Lower Jaw Protrusion)
A longer lower jaw causes the lower front teeth to sit in front of the upper front teeth. It can lead to tooth decay, increased wear and chance of periodontal disease, jaw pain and speech interference.
Protruding Upper Teeth (or Overjet)
Characterized by the upper teeth protruding too far forward or the lower teeth not extending far enough, this problem lends itself to premature wearing, increased injury and can indicate poor molar (back teeth) bite. Habits like thumb or finger sucking and tongue thrusting can lead to an overjet. Lack of timely orthodontic treatment can contribute to it worsening.
With the upper and lower incisor teeth not touching when biting down, the resulting open space between the upper and lower front teeth places chewing pressure on the back teeth which results in lowered efficiency. The back teeth rubbing together may even contribute to significant tooth wear.
Most commonly for this type of malocclusion, the upper teeth bite toward the tongue inside the lower teeth. Apart from difficulty biting and chewing this may result in misaligned jaw growth and tooth stratification.
Exactly as the name would suggest, there are more teeth than space in the dental arch resulting in misalignment which can lead to poor biting relationships, appearance concerns, difficulty in cleaning, decay, increased wear and, in extreme cases, recession and thinning of bone and gums over the roots of teeth.
This is when there is too much space or there are small or missing teeth resulting in gaps. Appearance concerns are the most common complaint as well as food becoming lodged between in the gaps which can lead to decay.
This is only a very basic look at common orthodontic problems. The best way to determine if you have one of these problems and how to progress is at an orthodontist’s office. To set up your consultation, contact us and see one of our four doctors at any of our 8 convenient Baltimore locations. We look forward to your next smile!